Calgary’s Enbridge Inc., in the midst of an aggressive acquisition spree, is preparing to make a play for Toronto’s publicly-owned electricity provider, hiring a lobbyist to press privatization on members of its city government “even before city council has decided to debate selling a chunk of the utility,” the Toronto Star reports.
“Phil Gillies, a Toronto lobbyist hired by Enbridge, talked October 27 with city manager Peter Wallace about ‘helping the city meet its climate, energy, and long-term financial objectives through monetization of Toronto Hydro,’” the newspaper reports, citing the city’s lobbyist registry.
Enbridge spokesperson Suzanne Wilton subsequently confirmed the company “is exploring an opportunity to work with the City as they investigate the option of asset monetization. We look forward to the opportunity to discuss this with city officials, and until we do, we have no further details to share.”
Enbridge, whose oil pipeline across Michigan leaked for days into the Kalamazoo River after its operators ignored automated warnings in 2010, has been on a spending and investment spree of late. Its $37-billion, all-share acquisition of Houston-based Spectra Energy Corporation, announced in September, will make it North America’s biggest energy infrastructure operator.
The company also recently bought a nearly 40% interest in the fossil distribution network that includes the under-construction Dakota Access pipeline, where a massive police presence has been deployed against tribal and other groups opposed to its route.